US Enterprise starts commitment period for Marcellus ethane pipeline

11 October 2011 14:02  [Source: ICIS news]

A natural gas pipelineHOUSTON (ICIS)--Enterprise Products Partners has begun “a binding open commitment period” for capacity on its proposed pipeline to ship ethane from the Marcellus and Utica shale regions in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to the US Gulf coast, it said on Tuesday.

Enterprise, a US supplier of midstream services to the petrochemicals and other industries, said the period will run from 11 October to 10 November.

The company added that it already met with interested shippers willing to execute long-term contracts to support the project, and that it expects “sufficient market support.”

The 1,230-mile pipeline will have an initial capacity of 125,000 bbl/day, with start-up expected in the first quarter of 2014.

It will deliver ethane to Enterprise's natural gas liquids storage complex at Mont Belvieu, Texas. Through connections at Mont Belvieu, ethane production from the Marcellus and Utica shales would ultimately have direct or indirect access to every ethylene plant in the US, Enterprise said.

The project will utilise a combination of new and existing infrastructure. Financial details were not disclosed.

“By providing access to the Gulf coast petrochemical market, our ethane pipeline offers a timely, cost-effective and expandable solution for meeting the country's long-term needs from both an energy supply and demand perspective," said Jim Teague, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Enterprise's general partner.

Analysts have said that additional infrastructure in the US Marcellus shale region will be needed by 2016 to keep pace with growing ethane production and prevent a stall in the drilling of rich gas.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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